At precisely 5.00pm, Donald Trump will be sworn in as America’s next president. For many, this day could not have come soon enough. A man who listened to those ignored by the Washington elite. A megastar businessman who promised to re-boot the American dream for the little people. A maverick who made the forgotten feel prosperity might finally return to their ravaged industrial homeland. Inauguration day has finally arrived. Anticipation and the stakes on which Trump swept to power could not be higher.
It is not hard to understand Trump’s appeal. The promises have been spectacular. “Let’s make coal great again” the rallying cry in West Virginia. “Let’s rebuild our once great car industry”, the message delivered to the Trump faithful in America’s rustbelt cities. With unchecked globalisation wreaking havoc on much of America’s heartland, large swathes of the American people are desperate for change. Trump’s message of hope was brutally simple. It was not driven by ideology. It simply promised the return of livelihoods, the regeneration of declining industries and a voice for those left behind by the bewildering pace of post-industrial change and technological innovation.
However, these claims hide a darker and more worrying long-term agenda. The imminent dismantling of Obamacare, the abolition of worker protection and the planned repeal of abortion rights are already in the planning stage. These three policy initiatives alone will have a devastating impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in US society. The very people who have travelled to Washington to witness Donald Trump stake his claim over the oval office on the promise of transforming their lives for the better.